Every day I read business analysts/academics forecasts for the “New Normal” in their respective industry of expertise. Insightful! However, I anticipate most experts fail to acknowledge how interconnectivity will impact the future of our planet. They need to step outside their industry box and further analyze the “Interconnectivity Impact.”
A great quote regarding our planet’s interconnectivity:
“So, a virus-laden bat bites another mammal in China, that mammal is sold in a Wuhan wildlife market, it infects a Chinese diner with a new coronavirus and in a few weeks all my public schools are closed and I’m edging six feet away from everyone in Bethesda.” – Thomas Friedman (American political commentator/author)
My industry of expertise? The US food-away-from-home channel. When will business bounce back? Great question. I know some restaurant industry optimists believe 2022. When I engage with my peers to better understand the foundation of their predictions, I realize a majority are not factoring in the interconnectivity impact for other areas of economic recovery that will require more time. To name a few:
- Business Travel – COVID-19 Domino Collapse – Miles & Points.
- Hospitality – Delivering safety will be a priority as the hospitality industry reinvents itself. Thanks to social distancing protocol, absolute occupancy numbers will be down. Less guests/travelers equates to reduced foodservice restaurant dollars offsite. On site, the revenue foodservice generated by selling the hospitality industry food & beverage for free breakfast buffets, coffee in the lobby, happy hour, etc. will evaporate.
- Big Cities – As more people continue to work from home and productivity remains sustainable, there might be a shift away from densely populated metropolitan areas (e.g., New York, San Francisco, etc.) to smaller cities. In concurrence, the skilled labor pool might be reconfigured. Consequently, the foodservice ecosystem will be impacted.
- Multigenerational Households – The Pew Research Center reported that in 2018, 64 million Americans were living in multigenerational households, the highest number on record. That number most probably will increase as Millennials and Gen Zers struggling with gainful employment, day care, cost of living, etc. move back in with their parents. Add to the mix seniors not wanting to opt for senior living given a large percentage died from COVID-19 in senior residences. Numerous pandemic research studies indicate consumers plan to partake in more home cooked meals. An increase in multigenerational households will equate to more cooks living under one roof diminishing the need and expense of eating out.
Back in a May post titled The World Ahead? I projected a new world where one size does not fit all. Everything in business, education, entertainment, etc. will be taken apart and put back together in fresh variations. Adapt to the new world. Nevertheless, acknowledge how interconnectivity will continue to impact the future of our planet.
Jim: Great observations. I think the world is realizing to what a great extent we are all interconnected. Speaking on COVID-19’s impact saw that Google is not expecting its workers to return to their offices until 2021.
The fallout from the coronavirus has forced people to consider how interconnected the world really has become. Aside from supply chain experts, it is unlikely that many could foresee the domino effect the virus has created ACROSS industries, across the world. The virus will not disappear even once a vaccine is developed because not everybody will get the vaccine (another issue entirely). This means the interconnectivity that had been created in the past 30 years will need to be reshaped/rebuild to account for ongoing disruption.
Everyone wants to get back to the old ‘normal’. It’s gone. Who is planning for the new ‘normal’? What will it look like? How small will foodservice become given many of the issues Jimmy brought to light?